Appelgebak (Dutch apple cake)

We lived in Amsterdam for 8 years, and discovered this gorgeous creation at the Marktcafe Noordermarkt, where they churn out hundreds a day.  It’s taken Chris a while to get the recipe absolutely spot-on, but this is about as close as you can get. Nice sharp eating apples like Braeburn are best, as they keep their shape and are tart enough to counteract all the brown sugar. The texture of the pastry is almost like cake.

  • 300g self raising flour
  • 180g butter
  • 150g soft brown sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt
  • ¾ of a beaten egg
  • 1 tablespoon semolina or polenta
  • 1 kg tart eating apples
  • 75g sultanas
  • 75g demerara sugar
  • 4tsp cinnamon

Soften the  butter, add flour, egg, the 150g brown sugar and vanilla.  Mix until it comes together in a ball.  Line a 20 cm (8inch) springform baking tin with the pastry (you can either roll it out or just squidge it into the base).  Save some to cut into strips to put on the top. Scatter the semolina or polenta over the pastry bottom (this helps to absorb some of the juices from the apple and prevents a soggy bottom). Peel, core and chop the apples roughly (big chunks are best), mix with the sultanas, demerara sugar and cinnamon, and pile into the case.  Arrange strips of pastry over the top in a lattice and brush with the remaining ¼ beaten egg.  Bake at 190°C for about an hour.  Leave to cool in the tin for a while, for the pastry to set and crisp up a bit. Take it out of the tin (you can do this while it’s still warm) and scoff with a squirt of whipped cream and a cup of strong coffee.  Imagine you are at the Noordermarkt in Amsterdam.  Eet smakelijk!

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